Tag Archives: Bible

Let’s Read the Bible. It’s Amazing!!!!

I have been reading the Gospel of Luke every morning for the past three weeks using Eugene Peterson’s, The Message/The Bible in Contemporary Language. Peterson is a Biblical Scholar

Today, I read verses 17-46. What a clear presentation of Jesus’ teaching. If all of us could totally live these few verses we would immediately be on our way to world peace. Not everyone has a copy of “The Message” and/or has been introduced to it. Because the copyright at the front of this Bible allows for large direct quotes, I’ve decided to give you those 29 verses to read in this blog.

I would love to hear your reflections on this passage.

What do these words mean for your own life?

In 2019 what changes would you have to make, in order to live them fully?

You can go to www.biblegateway and look up Luke 6:17-46 in many different translations and interpretations of the Bible. Check them out, if you choose, not in order to critique The Message,  but to enlarge your understanding of Jesus’ teaching.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Luke 6:17-47 The Message (MSG)

You’re Blessed

17-21 Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:

You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all.
God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry.
Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal.
You’re blessed when the tears flow freely.
Joy comes with the morning.

22-23 “Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.

Give Away Your Life

24 But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made.
What you have is all you’ll ever get.

25 And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself.
Your self will not satisfy you for long.
And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.
There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.

26 “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

37-38 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”

39-40 He quoted a proverb: “‘Can a blind man guide a blind man?’ Wouldn’t they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn’t lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

41-42 “It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.

Work the Words into Your Life

43-45 “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

46-47 “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Give a gift – Vitamin E

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Every Friday I have the pleasure and privilege of taking my special needs granddaughter, Vanessa, out for lunch and spending the afternoon with her. We run errands, work on her scrapbook, walk, read, whatever she is able to do and wants to do on particular Friday.

Last week, Vanessa and her wonderful Mom, Janet, surprised me with a gift, the book Footprints by M.F. Powers. The card said, “Thank you for spending Fridays with me” and was signed with love by my granddaughter. Every day, I read at least one of these inspiring stories. I am so grateful.

I believe the Bible offers us God’s living “Word” when we come to it with our mind’s open to hearing. The amazing part of this is that we can read the same passage every month or year and hear a different message.

God doesn’t just speak to us through the Bible. Although the stories in my lovely new book seldom mention God, I feel God touch my heart as I read. Today’s stories focused on kindness. The message I received was that I pass on to you was,

Offer a dose of  “vitamin E for encouragement” to your family,                friends, and strangers today.

It sounds so simple. The list of suggestions contained 101 examples. As I read through them, I noted all the ways that God had been encouraging me over the last few weeks. Today I will bring my handwritten note of gratitude for Vanessa to our family gathering. Their gift is truly a blessing for me.

Hopefully my posts occasionally offer the same kind of blessing to you.

 

How Do I Access the Bible’s Wisdom?

Written On Your Heart
Written On Your Heart

In June, I led a workshop about Storytelling and Dynamic Worship for Small Rural Churches. Storytelling is fun and it requires detailed preparation. I needed to know my stories off by heart, which means a great deal of practice. As children, we were assigned memory work at school (High Flight) and at church (23rd Psalm). I remember this “memory work” being pure drudgery.

Today, we think we don’t need to memorize anything, because all we have to do is “google” it and we have it on our phone, i-pad or computer. I believe having access to something is good, but having it written on your heart, deep within your being is a totally different kind of knowing, one that affects every day decisions. When we learn words of wisdom or comfort or faith by heart, we take those words into our being. They become a part of us so that we can call them to mind when the going gets tough..

My suggestion for you is to choose a quote, a Bible verse, a poem, something that touches your heart. Think about those words. Talk about them with your friends. Write them out and put them on your fridge and your bathroom mirror. Read them. Speak them aloud, over and over again.

Once you have learned them completely, they will be available for wisdom in times of temptation, or difficult decisions, for strength when life feels over whelming, for peace in times of emotional and physical pain. Once learned by heart, you can choose a new set and repeat the process. These words will be your anchors in the seas of life. Then, when the batteries die or the lights go out, the wisdom and comfort of these words will be with you, because they are written on your heart.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Five Steps to a Dynamic Faith.

Five Steps to a Dynamic Faith.

By Janet Stobie

instruction manual

Our new kitchen island came with an instruction manual, and all the pieces numbered. Neither Tom nor I has natural ability to put things together, but we can read. We felt sure we could complete this project. The courier helped Tom lug the three boxes containing two hundred and fifty pounds of wood and metal up to our living room. I travelled to London for a sisters’ visit while Tom completed the assembly. Putting it together involved some mistakes and some faulty material, but Tom had the Manual. Today, our solid cherry wood kitchen island stands proudly in our kitchen.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a “Do It Yourself Manual” for our Christian faith?

Well, we do. It’s called the Bible. Our problem is the Bible is mighty big and cumbersome and contains some words we don’t understand. Besides, it’s a collection of stories, not clear instructions. Consequently, many avoid the Bible.

I need help.
I need help.

Since today’s young people turn to the computer for everything, I decided to try “Google” as a short cut bypass for the Bible. I summarized Google’s information into the following five suggestions.

  1. Read the Bible, especially the stories of Jesus.
  2. Pray as though you believe.
  3. Join a Christian group for support. Church is the easiest.
  4. Take action to love and care for others.
  5. Be patient. God’s free gift of faith will come.

Even Google starts with “Read the Bible”. There are no short cuts to faith. Commitment and desire are foundational. Over my lifetime, I have learned that faith in God gives me an amazing basis for living. On the days when fear is running rampant in my mind, when exhaustion wracks my being, when pain is overwhelming, I know God is my anchor, my strength, my support.

Try the five steps. Pick up the Manual. God will welcome you to a life of faith.

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24, NIV)